Darren Sarisky

Project leader:

Dr Darren Sarisky (Australian Catholic University)


Hermeneutics and Transcendence: Toward a Synthesis


Continental hermeneutics has illumined how person-specific interpretive frameworks operate in all human attempts to understand the world. Yet some accounts of interpretation make it difficult or even impossible to appeal to divine transcendence. This creates the problem that lies in the background for this project. If a theory of hermeneutics, which is attractive in that it sheds light on the subject-specificity of interpretive frameworks, simultaneously prohibits reference to the divine, can it prove fruitful in grasping the ways the world communicates a reality beyond itself? Can hermeneutics help us see how people understand the meaning of spiritual information?

While some versions of hermeneutics unsettle engagements with the divine, might an appropriately formulated version of the ideas ultimately enrich our understanding of how spiritual information is interpreted? This research effort hypothesizes that it is possible to marry divine transcendence to the insights of hermeneutics. The project will test this supposition in two ways: (1) by locating tensions between divine transcendence and hermeneutical thought in recent discussions, and (2) by beginning to develop constructive proposals unencumbered by such tensions.

The project leader will convene a research group of international collaborators who have established themselves at the leading edge of this discussion. The primary investigator and his seven research group members will gather in-person for two symposia and six supplementary virtual workshops. The main academic output of this project will be an edited book that collects revised versions of the best papers from these discussions. This output will be complemented by the project’s public outreach efforts and three course syllabi, all of which will make the major findings of the project accessible to a broader audience.